Skip to main content

Full text of "Notes on a collection of plants from the Island of Ascension"

See other formats

\3 Biodiversity 

Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Boston :Metcalf and Co.,1 846-1 958 

v. 26, new ser. v. 18 (1890-1891): 

Page(s): Page 161, Page 162, Page 163 

Contributed by: MBLWHOI Library 
Sponsored by: MBLWHOI Library 

Generated 25 May 201 5:40 AM 

This page intentionally left blank. 



■ •rices between them. The kinds of corn in cultivation about Gua- 
najuato are described by Prof- Dugea as the mats arriveno } with hard 
and shining kernels; man cownnut, softer and less shining, either yel- 
low, black, or red ; metis molonco^ resembling the last, but with smaller 
kernels, growing in the "bad lands," and the difference probably due 
to the poverty of the soil; and a popcorn, mtus roswo. All of these 
are affirmed to be very unlike the mats de coyote, whirh appears to 

be known only in a wild state, 


As shown by I>r. Sturtevant in the Report of the N. Y. Agricul- 
tural Experiment Station for 1N8JJ, the varieties of corn cultivated 
generally by the Indians of Mexico all come into the group desig- 
nated by him as "soft corns" ( u Zea* amylacea"), in which the broad 
flattened kernels are composed wholly of starchy matter in addition 
to the embryo, A peculiar kind was found by Dr. Palmer at the 
Indian village of San Padro, Guadalajara, of which Dr. Sturtevant 
forms the distinct group of "starchy sweet corns" (" Zea* amylea- 
mccharata "), intermediate between the sweet and soft corns, having 
a wrinkled exterior and the summit of the kernel corneous. It is 
evident that so far as the grain is concerned these have little resem- 
blance to the metis de coyote* 

4. Notes upon a Collection of Plants from the Island of 



During the visit of the IT. S. Eclipse Expedition of 1889 to the 
island of Ascension, Mr. E. J. Loomis of the Nautical Almanac Bu- 
reau, Washington, made a collection of such plants as chanced to at- 
tract his attention. Though very small, it adds some species to the 
previously known flora of the locality, a full account of which is given 
by Mr. W. B. Hemsley in the botanical report of the voyage of the 
fii Challenger," The vegetation of the island, as there stated, is re- 
stricted almost wholly to " Green Mountain/ 11 an elevation of nearly 
3,000 feet altitude, which condenses the moisture of the southeast 
trades, and is consequently subject to frequent rains and fogs. At 
about three hundred feet below the summit the peak is encircled by 
a nearly level road, known as "Elliott's Pass," which generally fol- 
lows the very irregular contour of the mountain, but is occasionally 
carried through a spur by means of a tunnel. When these tunnels 
are short, they are lined throughout, roof and sides> with the most 
delicate and beautiful ferns, as are also the longer tunnels so far as 
daylight extends. It was on this part of the mountain that much 

of the collection was made* 

vol, xxvi. (n. s, xviti.) II 


The entire pha?nogainous flora native to the island, as given by Mr, 
Hemslcy, includes but twelve species, and ten of these are marked 
by him as only doubtfully indigenous. The two other species, Jhul- 
yotis Adscensionis aud Euphorbia oi-igaiioides^ are endemic. The 
cryptogamous flora is somewhat more extensive, the same authority 
giving a list of fourteen ferns (including a Lycopodiitm), thirty-five 
mosses and hepatics, and a dozen lichens* 

The following is a list of the species of every kind collected by 
Mr. Loomis, of which those in italics are without doubt introduced 
plants. The species of ferns described as new have been submitted 
to Prof. Eaton and to Mr, J. G. Baker. The mosses were determined 
by Prof. C. R. Barnes, the single hepatic by Prof. L. M. Underwood, 
and the lichens by Prof, Farlow. It is to be regretted that the oppor- 
tunity could not have been improved to make a larger and more 
complete collection of the plants of the island, for it is probable that 
a thorough search would increase considerably the number of indige- 
nous species now known. 

Arr/emone 3fexicana } L. Abundant. 

Senehiera didywa, Pers. 

Oxalis cornicuhda, L, 

Rubus nanus. Stems very short (1 or 2 inches high), from a 
woody caudex, erect, armed with numerous short recurved prickles, 
about 3-flowered at the summit: stipules narrow, acuminate, entire or 
sparsely toothed ; petioles short, pubescent and prickly; leaves mostly 
simple and rounded, subcordate at base, unequally and suhincisely ser- 
rate, somewhat o-lobed or sometimes ternate, sparsely villous above, 
prickly on the veins beneath: calyx small (about 4 lines broad), the 
base prickly : carpels rather numerous, on a depressed receptacle, gla- 
brous ; styles short. — Described from a single specimen found near 
the entrance of a tunnel in Elliott's Pass. It appears to be a very 
distinct and peculiar species of a genus not otherwise represented in 
the flora of the islands of the South Atlantic, 

Bidens pilosa, L. 

Lactaca Scarioln^ L. (?) Foliage only. 

Euphorbia origan >iim:s, L. 

Commelina audi fhnrt, L. 


Cvi'Kin s tmhellatus, Bcnth. Foliage only. 
Lycopodium cernci m, L. 


Ptkris flabellata, Thunb., var. Asoensionis* Hook. & Bak. 



Asplenittm Ascensionis. Stipes slender, tufted, an inch 1. r 

less, oakedj ilull brownish green; frond 3 t«» 6 inches long, often rout- 
ing at the apex, 6 to 10 lines broad, the rhachis channelled shov 
and narrowly winged ; pinna* about 20 (15 to 2^) on each side, 
very invgular in r-hai »e ( nearly as in A. fragile), in the middle of the 
frond somewhat quadrilateral and nearly twice longer than broad, 
often more or less deeply lobed at hase on the upper side, obtu><\ 
irregularly and obtusely few-toothed or the lower margin entire, the 
lowermost usually round-deltoid^ nearly equilateral and often lobed 
both sides, the uppermost becoming cuneate-obovate : sori linear-ob- 
long, oblique, 1 to G ou each side, — This adds another species to the 
closely allied A. viride group, intermediate between A. fragile and 
J. ragans* It is probably the same as the A. dentaium reported by 
Bory as collected on the island by D'Urville. Mr, Baker informs me 
that he also finds a specimen in Herb- Kew, among their A*fragile f 
which was given by " Don " (probably George, the younger, and col- 
lected by him on his trip to Sierra Leone) to Lindley in 1831. 

Nephrodium mollk, Desv. Specimens very variable and mostly 
much reduced. 

2si rHRODitnvi (?) visciDUjL More or less densely glandular-fibril- 
lose throughout; stipes from a slender creeping rhizome, brown, about 
an inch long, bearing a lanceolate acuminate pinnate frond 3 inches 
long ; pin me (except the upper ones) cleft nearly or quite to the mid- 
venij the thin broadly oblong segments (1 to 2 lines long) obtuse, more 
or less crenate-serrate, glandular-villous beneath, — A single speci- 
men, not in fruit, and the genus consequently indeterminate- Though 
strongly marked by its glandular-fibrillose character, it is not recog- 
nized by either Mr. Baker or Prof. Eaton, The former thinks it 
a starved Nepkrodiumj but "it cannot be N. Ascemianis" the only 
species excepting the last that is known from the island, 

Gymnogramme Ascensionis, Hook. 

Camptlopus introflexus, Brid. 

Rhacopilum fragile, Mitt. 


Lejeunta pterota, Taylor. 

Theloschistes chrysophtiialma, Norm,, var. flavicans, Wallr. 

Parhelia saxatilis, Ach. ?